Workers urged to switch off

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Firms have been urged to encourage their staff to literally switch off when they finish work after new research showed that constantly checking smartphones and other gadgets for emails and messages increased stress levels.

A study by psychologist Richard Balding revealed people who were most stressed experienced “phantom” alerts and checked their phone even when there were no new messages.

Findings from more than 100 public and private sector workers and students discovered a “helpful-stressful” cycle, with phones bought to manage a workload.

Howver, once an individual starts to use a smartphone, any benefits in managing a workload were displaced by pressure to check and respond to messages from friends in the new expanded “virtual social life”, said the report.